Exclusive: London 2012 victory parade, bottom of our agenda, says Paralympic chief
Saturday, 18 August 2012
August 18 - British Paralympic Association (BPA) chief executive Tim Hollingsworth has responded to criticism that the organisation has already planned a ParalympicsGB team victory parade for September 10, saying it is at the bottom of his plans for the Games.
Britain's Paralympians will join the country's Olympians for a special victory parade through the streets of the capital on Monday, September 10 – the day after the Closing Ceremony of the Paralympics – with all 900 Olympians and Paralympians competing at London 2012 invited to appear in front of millions of flag-waving supporters.
The event is being organised primarily by the British Olympic Association (BOA), the BPA and the Mayor's Office, but Hollingsworth said it is not a high priority.
"For logistical reasons, having the parade for both teams on this date is inevitable," Hollingsworth told insidethegames.
"But I hope no one interprets that as hubris because we are not sitting here thinking we are going to spend all our time planning a victory parade.
"That suggestion is ridiculous.
"To join up with our Olympic colleagues and replicate that fantastic parade in London after Beijing 2008, we have to be part of it on September 10 because any other date is very difficult in a city like London.
"But to reiterate, we recognise we have got the work to do first.
"If there is an assumption that we are spending our whole time managing victory, it is wrong.
"We are preparing as hard as we can for competition."
After finishing second on the medal table at the last three Summer Paralympics, Hollingsworth admitted that there is huge pressure on Paralympics GB to perform at London 2012.
In addition, UK Sport have set a minium target of 103 medals – won in at least 12 sports – with a stretch target of 145 medals from 16 sports.
Hollingsworth said Britain's Paralympians will embrace the challenge.
"The pressure has always been on us since the moment Beijing finished but we are only concerned about matching our own high expectations," he said.
"And they are high expectations because ParalympicsGB is going into these home Games better prepared through support from the National Lottery than ever before.
"After our Olympians performed so well, we are ready to take up the challenge and give everything to achieve our target of second in the medal table.
"Equally important is the fantastic news that our athletes will be competing in full venues.
"Winning medals in front of an excited home crowd will give us a great platform to help shift perceptions of Paralympic sport and ensure that our athletes get the recognition they deserve."
The victory parade will start at 1:30pm GMT at Guildhall in the City of London and conclude at 4pm at the Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace.
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